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CQ reader Angry TO points out yet another fiasco of outsiders coming into a high school to raise consciousness among the student body. After a speech by New Jersey's Secretary of State on racism, students walked out of classes yesterday at a South Jersey Catholic school to protest the accusatory tone of her appearance:
Some white students at a South Jersey Catholic school walked out of classes Tuesday in protest over a speech by the New Jersey Secretary of State Regina Thomas.
Tensions have been building up at Paul VI High School since Thomas' speech on racial justice last week.
Many students and faculty members walked out of the speech offended. They said that she lambasted one student for not knowing his black history and that she insinuated that the students were racist.
"It's, like, really crazy right now. Teachers are just standing by the doors. Kids are trying to get out. Kids are in the hallway, they won't go to class," one female student said.
The story originally appeared yesterday, when students first complained about the speech. Thomas' appearance resulted in creating the racial divisions she supposedly wanted to address, with black students receiving a backlash from a handful of immature white students for Thomas' "preacher-style" speech:
"You're watching your back every second because you're scared," said Kristen Minoh, an African-American student.
"(My friend) had a crumpled piece of paper in her locker that said, 'KKK all the way,'" said another African-American female student.
Stupid. That's why speakers at high schools should be well advised to temper their rhetoric around teenagers; they're not politically or emotionally developed enough to understand the preacher-style stemwinder that Thomas used. (Hell, neither are some adults.) In this case, even the faculty took exception to her style:
Even faculty members were taken aback by what they called an overly confrontational and disrespectful approach.
"It's unfortunate, because I don't think many people would argue with the fundamentals of the speech. It's just that the approach and the manner might have served, unfortunately, to undermine the key point," said Andrew Walton, of the Diocese of Camden.
Now we have a school that finds itself with inflamed racial strife just because a politician decided to use the opportunity to vent at and humiliate students for not agreeing with her politics. As with West Seattle High School (see below), the adults in charge should have controlled the situation better and Thomas, who should know better, should have thought more about her intended audience.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on March 18, 2005 10:28 AM
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